White Oak (Donegal Witness Tree)
1891 Donegal Springs Road, Mt. Joy PA
In 1777 congregants of Donegal Presbyterian Church gathered with Pastor Colin McFarquhar under this nearby tree to vow allegiance to the cause of the American patriots in their fight against England and its King. That stately White Oak was estimated at 150 years at that time and lived until June 3, 1991 when, despite extensive efforts at preservation, it finally succumbed to lightning strikes, drought and old age, and was reluctantly cut down. Thus the tree may have reached 360 years of age. What remains today is a memorial display in honor of the tree at the Donegal Church as well as at last two offspring (see separate entries). In addition, various craft objects (chairs, cufflinks, bowls, etc.) were made from the fallen tree.
At one time, the Witness Tree was listed as one of the eleven most famous trees in the entire country (Elizabethtown Chronicle, Jan. 23, 1942, p. 5). The 5th photo shows people paying their respects shortly before the tree was felled (from Lyn Baker Alarie's "The Scoop on Marietta," 2012, p. 940).